Guide to Living Land Acknowledgments
Self Reflection. Before getting started on a Land Acknowledgment, take time to reflect on the process. Ask yourself “Why, What and When?” Why are you doing this land acknowledgment? What do you hope those who read it or hear it will gain? When is the right time to share this land acknowledgement?
Do your Research. Put in the time to learn more on the following topics:
- The Indigenous people to whom the land belongs.
- The history of the land and any related treaties.
- The correct pronunciation for the names of the Tribes, places, and individuals that you’re including.
- The names of living Indigenous people from these communities. Learn more about and highlight Indigenous people who currently work in the field you are presenting on. Research Indigenous place names and language.
- That Indigenous people are not relics of the past. They are still here. Use past, present and future tenses.
- The use of appropriate language is important. Don’t romanticize the past. Stolen land, ethnic cleansing, forced removal and genocide are all appropriate terms to use.
Examples and Tips
- Land Acknowledgment from Museum Association of New York
- Land Acknowledgement from the Brooklyn Museum
- Honoring Original Indigenous Inhabitants: Land Acknowledgment – helpful cultural context and guidelines to consider when creating a land acknowledgment from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
- Beyond Land Acknowledgment: A Guide, from Native Governance Center –critical next steps to take beyond writing a land acknowledgment
- U.S. Department of Arts and Culture: Honor Native Land resource
- Tribal Nations of the United States: An Introduction by the National Congress of American Indians
- List of Federal and State Recognized Tribes, National Conference of State Legislatures
- Native Land –a great resource to learn more about Indigenous territories, languages, lands, and ways of life.
- Land Back Movement
- The Lenape Center has the mission of continuing Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland through community, culture, and the arts.The Lenape Center is based in Manhattan and led by Lenape elders. Since 2009 it has created programs, exhibitions, workshops, performances, symposia, land acknowledgment, and ceremonies to continue Lenape presence.The organization seeks to push back against Lenape erasure and seed the ground with consciousness for the next generations.Lenape Center is working towards the creation of a physical culture center.
- Nichusak (in English: “my women friends”) is a women-led working group composed of social activists, lawyers, and artists. The group was brought together by the Lenape Center (Spring 2021) focuses on the issues surrounding the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples (MMIP) crisis in Lenapehoking. Its mission is to promote the safety and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples through policy advocacy, social engagement, and artistic expression
- American Indian Community House (AICH) was founded in 1969, by Native American volunteers as a community-based organization, mandated to improve the status of Native Americans, and to foster intercultural understanding.
- The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian has digitized and provided access to many objects and archival documents created by the Lenape or about the Lenape.
- The Treaty of Fort Pitt: Original treaty with the United States. During the Revolutionary War, one of the United States’ earliest treaties was with the Lenape aimed at building an alliance against the British: the Treaty of Fort Pitt.
Indigenous History and Contemporary Issues
- Dunbar-Ortiz,Roxanne. An Indigeneous People’s History of the United States
- Ostler,Jeffrey. The Lakotas and the Black Hills.New York Penguin, 2011
- Brown, Dee, 1908-2002. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee : an Indian History of the American West. New York :Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1970
- Treuer, David, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present. New York: Riverhead Books, 2019.
- Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States
- Indian Country Today